Many people know that power plants are a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gasses; however, few are aware that many of those same plants kill and injure fish and other aquatic life. Electric power plants - both nuclear and fossil-fueled - with antiquated "once-through cooling systems withdraw massive amounts of water from rivers, lakes and estuaries to cool the steam used to create electricity. These withdrawals, which add up to about 135 trillion gallons per year nationwide, kill trillions of fish and other aquatic organisms, particularly small, fragile eggs and larvae, altering the aquatic food chain and ecosystems.
An Introduction
  • Many people know that power plants are a major source of air emissions, but few are aware that many power plants kill and injure fish and other aquatic life.
Animation
  • Learn how outdated "once-through" cooling systems are killing aquatic life and polluting our water resources in this interactive feature.
Federal Regulation
  • EPA will release a new cooling water intake rule in early 2014 requiring existing power plants minimize adverse impacts on fish and other aquatic life.
Treading Water Report
  • States need to ramp up their protections for the aquatic life destroyed by outdated power plant cooling systems.
Why You Should Care
  • Many of the nation's older power plants have a huge thirst for water. Here are 10 things to know about their water use and 10 reasons to care.
Blog Series
  • See our Ecocentric series for more information on the impact of power plants on aquatic life.